Victim Information Counter The Hague (VIC)
Chain cooperation : Reducing the Risk of
Secondary Victimization
Roland R. Knobbout,
• Public Prosecutor The Hague
• Chairman VIC
• Committee member of The Dutch Violent
Offences Compensation Fund
•Board member of HALT Bureau
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Chain Cooperation
• The Public Prosecution Service, being the Public
Prosecutor’s Office at the District Court and the PPO at the
Court of Appeal, both in The Hague,
• Victim Support in the Netherlands
(SlachtofferhulpNederland), districts Haaglanden and
Midden,
• Police regions Haaglanden and Hollands-Midden and
• Dutch Violent Offences Compensation Fund
together founded the Victim Information Counter (VIC)
The Hague.
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Content
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The Police & Public Prosecution Service (PPS): deals
consistently, quickly and strictly with perpetrators of aggression
and violence against vulnerable victims, like children and victims
of human trafficking
Dutch Criminal Law : Differences between adult and juvenile
criminal law / guarantees Suspects and Victims
Victim Information Counter The Hague
Numbers
Rights of victims
Developments in 2011 and next
Bottlenecks
Discussion
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Criminal Law
• (Inter)national regulations to protect vulnerable
victims, like children
• Tackling of perpetrators: Dutch Criminal Code.
Mainly a priority of police and PPS
• Child abuse & domestic violence
• Sexual offences, incl. youth prostitution /
child pornography
• Smuggling of people, human trafficking and
slavery
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Criminal Law
• Criminal law and victims’ rights are of basic
importance
• To produce evidence is often difficult
• Victims of violence/ sexual offence often fear own
safety and (safety of) family in The Netherlands
and outside
• Human trafficking / smuggling and child
pornography: international and organized
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Juvenile criminal law
• Dutch Juvenile criminal law : 12-18/21 years
• Interest of child and victim of primary importance
• Guarantees Dutch Criminal Law
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Juvenile criminal law
• Purpose Juvenile criminal law : prevention of
recidivism / pedagogic manners
• HALT Bureau
• Special police officers, Public Prosecutors and
judges
• Civil law & criminal law
• The Child Care and Protection Board
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Victim Information Counter The Hague
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Interest of the victim is of primary importance
Victim Information Counter: chain of cooperation : unique
modernized ‘single-front office thought’
Concentration of several services : PPS, Police,
Victim Support and The Violent Offences Compensation Fund,
good contacts with Court and other agencies
Victim Information Counter The Hague = nation example, since 1
January 2011 ( Slachtofferloket)
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VIC The Hague
The VIC The Hague operates according to a unique
1-window format, which means that victims of
crimes and dependants of victims can turn there
for help in many ways.
The employees of the chain partners work together at
the Palace of Justice and can be contacted at one
telephone number and at one website
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VIC The Hague
• The operating method of the VIC is focussed on
the victim and on quality and it also aims at
guaranteeing the rights of the victim, while
offering him assistance and bringing forward his
interests during the criminal proceedings.
• The special care offered to the victim will save
him time and irritation and prevents a lot of
distress. For instance in the court room, but also
later when someone might be partially certified
incapable for work because of traumatic
experiences
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Victim Information Counter The
Hague
• In 2010, thanks to the chain cooperation activities
in the field of victim care have increased.
• One must think of many services to the victim that
have been laid down partially in legal regulations
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Intake/ call centre
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The Hague area ; annually about 18.000 phone calls and 50.000
letters
intake per victim : which rights/ which services
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special attention for victims of serious crimes
special attention for vulnerable victims
special attention for victims with a public function
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often specialized employees for these victims : police officers,
PPS officers and employees of Victim Information Counter:
victims’ rights lawyers & case coordinators
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Victim of crime has several functions and rights:
Full custom for vulnerable victims
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Function of victim : report someone to police (Dutch Penal Code,
art 160)
Witness
Right to good supply of information and inspection
Right to assistance (e.g. accommodation)
Right to protection/ anonymity (e.g. in case of threat)
Right to guidance
Right to compensation for damages
Right to speak
Right to be active (attend a sitting, add documents to the file, etc.)
and the right to complain (decision PPS not to prosecute etc. /
Ombudsman)
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Victim’s rights human trafficking
• B9 : right of residence in the Netherlands :
• To stimulate reporting of crimes and attending
criminal procedures ; also possible if victim does
not report because of serious threats or for medical
reasons
• Particular conditions to protect the victim
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Right of compensation
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Easily realizable via criminal law
Consolidation form
Victim Information CounterThe Hague assists :
Assists with the completion of forms : 650 per year and
examined/ corrected 2600 per year
No examination of firms, lawyers, etc.
Decision on civil claim
(officially or on demand) compensation measure : The Central
Fine Collection Agency
Regulation of ‘payment in advance’ since 1-1-2011
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Consultations with Victims
• Public Prosecutor - Victim interviews per year : 400 customized
interviews with important role for the victim, e.g. recent
information or special conditions to the benefit of the victim
Written Victim Statement : 650
The right to speak during the Court Hearing : diverse and
available with damage statements
Numbers of sittings with counselors of Victim Support The
Netherlands : Substantial support to the Victim,
-Fear or emotion or not capable
-safe and pleasant
Yearly average : 200
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Serious Crimes
Case coordination murder and other serious
crimes
- Police : family/victim detectives
- PPS : case coordinator/ manager
- Victim support coach
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PPS The Hague & The Victim Information Counter: Intensification of
compensation by perpetrators of aggression and violence
Give victims a VIP treatment
The Violent Offences Compensation Fund : in case the perpetrator is
unknown, without means or in case of grave consequences for
vulnerable victim
Unambiguous National Agreements : agreements between Police
and PPS with regard to the tackle of violence against employees
with a public function
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Recent developments
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Act to Strengthen the Position of Victims since 1-1-2011 :
Victim is participant of trial and deserves respect from other
parties
Anonymity in criminal procedure/ report : domicile option
Front desk of The Victim Information Counter,
new waiting room, consulting rooms
Victims in court room : permanent place
Importance of publicity
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Bottlenecks
1. Expertise of social workers : no/ insufficient knowledge of
victim’s rights and criminal law
2. Policy social workers : When does one go to law?
3. Being consistent and act accordingly, irrespective of cost
4. Support victims and show it : during the recording
of hearings, during sittings and after
5. Juvenile criminal law : Perpetrator or Victim, it
could be your child
6. International cooperation criminal law and
victim’s law
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The end or the beginning?
• A well treated and active victim is the most
important ambassador, legitimizes the criminal
procedure/jurisdiction, decreases recidivism
• Questions : The Victim Information Counter The
Hague ( Slachtofferloket &SIP)
• www.slachtofferloket.nl
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Discussion?
• Together with you we take a look at the power of
the cooperation, the possibilities and desirability’s.
Especially the cooperation between organisations
aimed at victim rights and victim care gives an
enormous boost to the victim to recover and to go
for his rights.
• To realise this, what can be the role of the Public
Prosecution Service, the Police, the Victim
Support Organisations or Compensation Fund?
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Discussion ?
Could (more) Chain cooperation also be
beneficial to you/ within your country?
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Discussion
• On paper it (often) all seems so obvious, but practice show
that there is a strict separation between the organisations.
• Are we dealing with cold feet here?
• Are the Police and/or the Public Prosecution Service afraid
that someone is looking over their shoulder?
• Or do we often forget to look at the general interest, being
the victims, and do we focus too much on the suspects?
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Victim Information Counter The Hague